Dolores County Commissioners hear about school district swap, roads, transportation, law enforcement, microgrid, trails and art at Rico Town Hall meeting

· Dolores County
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Dolores County Commissioners (left-to-right) Floyd Cook, Steve Garchar and Linda Yellowman at Rico Town Hall.

Ore Cart photo
June 5, 2023

About 15 citizens attended a June 5 workshop with Dolores County Commissioners to discuss Rico matters - 6:00 PM at Town Hall. Commissioners were pleased with the attendance, saying similar sessions at the county seat of Dove Creek have less attendance.

The meeting had no agenda.

Art Lauri Adams described of Artists of Rico described outdoor art projects.

Rico Fire Protection District Administrator David Kunz inquired about the status of acquiring a refurbished backup power generator for the firehouse, which he previously discussed with Dolores County Office of Emergency Management. Commissioner Linda Yellowman stated that Emergency Manager Keith Keesling wishes to obtain a generator for Rico, and to re-start previous discussion.

Ore Cart publisher Allyn Svoboda described and recent application by San Miguel Power Association to the State of Colorado Energy Office Microgrid for Community Resiliency - Planning Grant funding opportunity planning grant. SMPA proposes to provide backup electric service to the entire Town for a minimum of 4 hours using solar photovoltaic panels and batteries. Rico Town Manager added that the planning grant application was approved but not yet officially announced.

Transportation Rico Mayor Nicole Pieterse asked about Dolores County funding to support the proposed Rico-to-Cortez seniors shuttle service to be provided by Montezuma County. Town of Rico will be charged monthly for this service. Commissioner Steve Garchar stated that a similar service at Dove Creek is funded by the county-wide Quality of Life property tax mill levy, and The Rico Center receives one-third of this fund.

Schools Sue Kunz of the Rico School Reorganization Planning Committee described its draft Reorganization Plan to detach the Rico area from Dolores County School District and attach to Telluride School District. Telluride Schools Superintendent John Pandolfo said that he and Dolores County Schools Superintendent Ty Gray have a meeting with the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) Wednesday this week.

The planning committee will host public hearings later this month in Rico, Telluride and Dove Creek. Planning Committee will revise the draft Plan based on public comments received at the hearing, submit a final Plan to CDE for approval, and prepare a ballot question for a November vote by citizens in the three affected communities. An informational flyer describing reasons for the proposed school district territory swap will be mailed potential voters in the three areas soon.

Planning Committee member Kimberly Alexander from Dove Creek stated that Rico has been part of Dolores County School District since 1959, and some Dove Creek residents are unaware that Rico is part of it.

Rico Town Manager Chauncey McCarthy described erosion at a Y-intersection caused by runoff from a county road. Response from County law enforcement to Rico requests needs to be faster.“ It would be nice to call a sheriff and not have a 3-day turn-around time," he stated, and suggested that an outpost and regular scheduled days at Rico would improved law enforcement service for Rico.

Rico Trails Alliance Rio Grande Southern (RGS) trail improvements project needs funding for cultural and environmental assessments, reported Jim Ostrem. Commissioner Floyd Cook stated that revenues from the County lodging tax may be used for trails. Commissioner Steve Garchar mentioned State of Colorado lottery funds.